Neely charged with fraud

Former GSA official's lavish conference spending sparked the crackdown on federal travel and event attendance.

Jeffrey Neely, testifying before the House Oversight Committee in 2012

 

Former GSA Regional Commissioner Jeff Neely could face five years in prison and more than $1 million in fines.

The former government official whose spending sparked a government-wide crackdown on conferences and travel has been indicted for fraud.                 

A federal grand jury in San Francisco slapped Jeff Neely, the General Services Administration’s former Region 9 commissioner who helped plan the agency's 2010 Western Regions Conference, with five counts of fraud in an indictment handed down Sept. 25.

The Western Regions Conference boiled to the surface in 2012, as details of outlandish and lavish spending by GSA officials at the Las Vegas training event were disclosed in press reports and congressional testimony.

The GSA cut Neely loose in 2012 as the scandal deepened and news of his spending $822,000 on the conference shocked agency leaders, members of Congress and the public.

The scandal also forced then-GSA Administrator Martha Johnson to resign and left the agency reeling. President Barack Obama tapped Dan Tangherlini, the current GSA administrator, in April 2012 to help rebuild trust in the agency. Tangherlini stepped in as acting administrator after Johnson stepped down, and took over the job outright in May 2013.

The grand jury indictment charges 59-year-old Neely, of Gardnerville, Nev., with fraudulently seeking reimbursement for personal travel and expenses -- incurred in Las Vegas, Nev.; Long Beach, Calif.; Guam; and Saipan. At the time of the alleged fraud, the indictment said, Neely was the Regional Commissioner and Acting Regional Administrator for GSA’s Public Buildings Service, Pacific Rim Region, which encompasses California, Arizona, Nevada, Hawaii and outlying territories.

The indictment also alleges that when GSA employees questioned him about the dubious expenses, Neely lied, saying the charges were incurred during government business.

According to a Sept. 25 Justice Department statement, which was also distributed by GSA, the indictment is for three counts of making false claims and two of making false statements. Neely is slated for an initial court appearance on the charges Oct. 20. If convicted, he could face five years in prison and fines totaling more than $1 million.

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